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Georgia to bring gas to the hammer2011-09-12 21:52
Official Tbilisi continues its gas affairs. Within the last year, the parliament several times offered to privatize the North-South gas pipeline but then gave up the idea. Gazprom may as well bully the Georgian natural gas transportation line by establishing monopoly in the region. Now the initiated amendments to the law have enlarged the privatization list and soon the strategic object will be available at New-York, Warsaw and London exchanges at a tolerable price. The question is who the new owner will be.
It is no secret that despite the absence of diplomatic relationship with Georgia, Russia successfully runs business in the territory of the neighbouring republic, which quite fits the strategy focused on economic interests. Mikhail Saakashvili won't last forever and even amendments to the Constitution won't make him an eternal governor of Sakartvelo. It will be easier for the new government to restore the bridge between Moscow and Tbilisi if partnership is sustained by a solid currency word.
At last, the deputies realized that the privatization of an outdated pipeline will not damage the Georgian statehood. As for the North Caucasus-Transcaucasia gas pipeline, breakdowns have become frequent in the Georgian sector of late; the last one happened last April when the pipeline leading from Russia to Armenia stopped functioning because of a mountain landslide in Kazbeg region of Georgia. Gazprom daily pumps 6,5-9 million cubic meters of gas through the territory of Sakartvelo, so the point at issue may also be the long-suffering North-South pipe that they have been trying to put up for sale for several years.
The Georgian government's apprehensions are based on the fact that the Caucasian republic receives about 10 percent of gas for internal consumption from natural gas transit from Russia. But if Gazprom takes possession of the desired section, Sakartvelo may instantly lose this opportunity. However, the only profit from such acquisition is that Tbilisi will allegedly find itself dependent on "the Big Brother". The increased profitability or the energy supply volume is very questionable, the route also being doubtful from the economic point of view. The gas pipeline ends in Armenia and the prospect of its turn towards Turkey is as shadowy as ever: Blue Stream is already functioning and the implementation of the South Stream project is on the agenda. The closing of the border between Yerevan and Ankara and political discrepancies between them ruin the very feasibility of the idea.